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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  April 12, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm EDT

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cool, contemporary art. melissa chan, new al jazeera, las vegas. >> thanks for watching must must. i'm morgan radford. and "inside story" is coming up next. >> the obama administration said that it would drop illegal immigrants with no criminalists to the bottom and criminals to the top. did they? that's the inside story. >> million
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>> hello, i'm ray suarez. hundreds of thousands of people locked long term in detention and deportation proceedings, living in a kind of limbo. some still living with their families. some in repurposed prisons in barracks. the obama administration made a furious reaction from republicans in washington when it said it would stop deporting undocumented immigrants with no criminal records and give greater priorities to those accused or convicted of more serious offenses. for those waiting for deportation with clean records that word came too late. they were sent home any way. and turns out the standard for what constituted a criminal record was precise as well. what the country is doing now is kind of a mess. >> if you want to know what the debate over immigration reform stands in capitol hill you need
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only listen to the democratic and republican leaders in the house of representatives this week. >> i think race has something to do with the fact that they're not bringing up immigration bill. i've seen to the irish, if it was just you it would be easy. i think that generally speaking they're disrespectful of the representatives of the president's administration. >> dismissing minority leader pelosi speaker boehner accused the white house of not being truthful. >> there is no issue of race here. the frustration is that the american people have not been told the truth about what happened at the irs. the american people have not been told the truth about what happened in fast and furious. the administration has not told the american people the truth about bengahzi.
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>> comprehensive immigration reform including a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in this country has long been the goal of the oh obama administration. while the president has pushed on the issue at the same time i am placing is setting records. 2 million people have been deported. even some people who have supported president obama in the past have gun calling him the deporter in chief and protests have sprung up around the country to call attention to his enforcement policy. the one key issue of the not more a than one deportation is that families are being split up. >> we've put more boots on the ground at any more time in history.
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today illegal crossings are near their lowest levels in decades. we focus enforcement efforts on criminals who are here illegally, who endanger our communities, and today we deport more criminals than ever before. >> an analysis of immigration and customs enforcement records conducted by syracuse university shows that in 2013 only 12% of deportations were for level one offense such as murder, armed robbery or sexual assault. 50% of deportation were for immigration offenses or traffic violations. there are 17 courts for deportation in the united states, and they're groaning under the caseload. there is a backlog of 360,000 immigration cases and. takes 573 days to complete a case. those who wait may wait in jail.
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they do not have rights and may not post pond post bond. in this midterm election year no one is expecting congress to act, so as the administration reviews its policy the cycle of arrests court hearings and deportations continues. >> we've done a number of programs on immigration reform and the political realities of this issue on this edition of "inside story" we're going to look more closely at how the enforcement and deportation process works. what happens when you're arrested. does it matter what you did or where you're caught or what country you're from? how long are people detained and where? joining us now to talk about all of this, a deportation defense organizer for the national day labor organizing network. she's coauthor of blue ribbon
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report. mark mancini , a partner in a law firm, and acting director for ice. if you're located in a workplace, routine stop found at home when police are doing some other bit of business. you're out of status. you're not supposed to be in the country. you're picked up. what is the mechanics? what is supposed to happen to you next? >> what's supposed to happen next is under the current policy of the administration the ice officer who would be getting the referral or making the arrest has to take a look at a number of factors and exercise their discretion of whether to take them into custody or not take them into custody. based on today, today's policies if they are not
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a serious criminal, then they're highly exercis encouraged to exercise discretion. they're brought into the ice office, processed, and they're given a charging document that says you're here in violation of immigration law and you have the option of returning voluntarily or they can have full immigration hearing in front of an immigration court it at which point a bond would be set focusing on the risk of flight or danger to the community. >> now, i'm assuming that when you're given that choice, go home or enter the process, it's a long time. we heard an average 573 days. that's 18 months , in some cases it's even longer, but you have to wait awhile until you get a hearing, until you get to tell your side of the story. >> that's misleading. it's much shorter than that if you're in custody.
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if you're not in custody, a docket can take well over a year if you're not in custody. the priority with the number of limited resources, they oversee that for the department of justice, their priority is to deal with the cases for people who are currently in custody. who are detain: there are a number of those who are detained where there is no discretion because of the way the law is currently written. they may be accused of a serious crime, aggravated felony for which bond is not an option. depending on whether you're from, if the u.s. cannot send you back, you may be in custody for a lengthy period of time. >> you go through the criminal justice system first and then
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brought back to immigration? >> yes, that is how it's supposed to happen. there are occasions where you may be taken into city, and for some reason they may drop those charges. >> what is the filter, what is the screen used to figure out whether you're going to go into some form of detention until your case is at jude kateed or allowed to go on with your life, live with your family until you get your hearing? >> i agree with john, the word is discretion. unfortunately il , in our practice we see lack of use of discretion, later it will be called process coul prosecutorial discretion. those who are stopped for offenses, or who have offenses that are found out who are
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routinely detained. and many are allowed to have bond hearings, but it's difficult to find the client after the detention begins because of the private present system being operated. >> so they go into a detention system where it's not an easy picking up the phone, i'm so and so's lawyer, i've come to see them. >> it's very much not that way. we know that deportation is considered civil in nature, not criminal, so you don't have the same constitutional protections but it's beyond a constitutional matter. it's a practical matter because it's difficult to locate clients after this happens. >> is it almost like a conveyer belt? once you're on it you can't go back, you can't get off? if you're one of these people who want to argue that this is a special case for a wide you variety of reasons, once you're
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in the system is it hard to be extracted even with legal help? >> it's super confusing for people going through the proceedings. not everyone has access to an attorney. you have to hire an attorney. you don't have free represen representtation, for example. i think part of the problem is that it's up to the discretion of the officer or field director whoever is making the decision. one of the things that--so many problems with the implementation to begin with, but one of the things that we've seen is certain field office will say this is about prioritizing resources. i don't need to pick which is low priority or high priority, they'll deport the person any way. the second problem is who is considered high priority and low priority. there is a lot of discussion of people who are considered high priority. we work with people who have no criminal history.
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the first time they crossed they were caught at the border and deported. sometimes the second time they crossed and they were caught and deported. there are those who are charged r r reentry, and now they're considered criminals. not only my experiences once you're in the deportation proceedings you can't get off, but there are so many risks along the way of living as an undocumented immigrants that you could get caught in the net. >> we're going to take a break. when we come back we'll talk more about what deportation means and how it's proving problematic for many people and we'll talk about what the new rules are. hardly anybody can really explain them well. stay with us. this is inside story.
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>> aljazeera america presents a break through television event borderland... six strangers... >> let's just send them back to mexico >> experience illegal immigration up close and personal. >> it's overwhelming to see this many people that have perished. >> lost lives are re-lived... >> all of these people shouldn't be dead. >> will there differences bring them together, or tear them apart. >> the only way to find out is to see it yourselves. >> which side of the fence are you on? borderland only on al jazeera america
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>> on the next talk to al aljazeera... >> i'm antonio mora and this is talk to al jazeera >> award winning documentary director ken burns, talks about his craft, and his latest project on the gettysburg address talk to al jazeera only on al jazeera america >> welcome back to inside story. i'm ray suarez. immigration and deportation this time on the program. how the u.s. handles those in the process of being deported.
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how the system work. al jazeera america will premiere it's new series on immigration, the lives in this country and their legal status. it's called "borderland." our guides to the issue are not reporters or politicians, but six every day americans with different opinions of how the country should handle the millions here illegally. in episode two, participates, a retired marine from illinois and an artist in new york city mitre transport dropping off deportees in central america. >> there was clapping, and i'm like, what is that about
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. they're treated humanely and provide any form of medical services that they might need. we immediately give them food and something to drink. there is a mixture of feelings coming back to this country, but you can tell there is not just a somberness, but of what they left behind. >> in the last two years an estimated 200,000 families in the united states have been torn apart by deportation. like myra, many of those being processed are desperate to return to their loved ones as soon as possible. >> how does it feel to leave your family? >> i feel bad, you know . i was 14 years in dallas, i feel kind of bad because i leave my wife and my two kids.
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>> you leave your wife and child behind, how are you going to see them again? >> well, right now, computer. video. >> that's a clip from border land, the original series debuts on al jazeera america 9:00 eastern. the man who left dallas and left his family behind said he hasn't decided if he'll try to get back to the united states. many do go back, and many do get caught again. just that re-entry is serious enough of an offense that that thanksgiving can be considered the serious crime that moves you to the top of the deportation list.
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>> that's statutory. congress decided to make that a punishable offense. in many of the ramped up aggravated felonies, most of which are not felonies, but they're called aggravated felonies. they can be used to put them to the top of the--they don't say deportation but congress calls it removal which is more clinical. >> can a hearing officer look at that fact, the serious crime you're charged with is just, in fact, coming back, and use the discretion not to send you back again? >> in some instances they can. the different is the use of prosecutorial discretion by an agency out in the field is guided by the laws and recognizealations also. so these aggravated felonies don't give you that discretion because it ends up being a mandatory detention type of case. the officer will look at that
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discretion and say do i want to be the person knowing that this person may have committed a crime already in the past, to now give them a pass the second time around. why don't i just take them into custody, reduce my own personal liability. let an immigration judge or immigration attorney exercise their discretion, and ultimately it could go back to the agency, a member of congress can ask for that discretion to be used. so to almost ask the officer in the field to make that decision where he's not sure that everyone will support him up the line if that person were to come back and do something again, the likelihood of them exercising that discretion is not as high as you would think. >> is there a discernible pattern of it going harder for you if you're arrested in one part of the country as opposed to another, where there are certain immigration judge who is might an little tougher, a little harder on the people who come before them than in other
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places in the country? >> again, part of the discretion is that every field director has a chance to exercise the way they see fit. we've seen, for example, a lot of deportations of people who have immigration histories in new orleans where they specifically have a pilot program called the new orleans criminal removal initiative that target specifically people with criminal histories and people with deportation backgrounds. i mean, honestly the reality of that all over the country in places like chicago, cook county where i grew up, where that is supposed to be a sanctuary county where ice does not cooperate with the police, you have ice going into people's houses asking if they have relevant criminal histories and removing them for proceedings. >> should people who are sent out of the country, should they think very carefully, even if
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they have families here, kids, should they think carefully whether or not they come back because that's bound to go worse for them when they try to regularize their status down the road if there is comprehensive immigration reform. >> as far as the senate bill which passed last year goes, no, that is not a factor, but it is a factor under current law. i wouldn't have much advice to give someone in that position. whether to commit an act of love as you jeb bush said, or whether to stay put. that literally takes an act of congress, and we haven't had one. >> when we return we'll talk more about the detention centers, how they're working, how many people are in them. this is inside story. >> what excites me about detroit is the feeling of possibility...
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>> the re-birth of an america city >> we're looking at what every city can learn from detroit, >> the industrial revival entrepreneurs driving growth communities fighting back... >> we're fighting for you and we're taking these neighborhoods back, for you. >> a special look at the moves adding fuel to the motor city five days in detroit only on al jazeera america. vé
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>> hai'm ray suarez. vé it's well-known that 2 million people have been deported in the first hive years of the obama administration. what is not as well-known is how it works. who is being deported. how the process works. we're tackling that part of the story. with us, defense organizer for the national day labor organizing network. mark ma mancini who specialize ms. immigration, and john torres who from 2008-2009 was acting director of ice. what is it like in the detention centers? is there a pattern? are they roughly the same everywhere in the country? >> i've never been inside of a detention center myself. i've worked with a lot of people who have.
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i don't think that it's the same everywhere around the country because the standards are so hard to implement especially with private prisons. one thing that we do know is that we have lots of people who are in detention centers who are complaining about the conditions, the pay and the treatment that they're getting and lack of ability protest these things. right now in washington state, in texas there are hunger strikes happeningeinside of the detention center, and in arizona there was one where people are protesting those things. what's happening is that the detention centers are retaliating against the people who are protesting. in texas we had two organizers deported. in arizona when they were doing the hunger strikes we had two people deported from inside. and people are put in solitary confinement in washington state. not only do you have lack of supervision from the government, but from people inside it's hard to get the stories out and protest when they're so
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vulnerable to deportation. >> john torres, it's my understanding that you're not accorded all the legal and constitutional rights for a prison measure who is in a regular state or federal facility after they've been convicted of a crime. >> you can actually get more. i've been in a number of the detention facilities over the years. there are many different types. they fall under three categories. those owned by the federal government. those that are contracted by the federal government solely for the purpose of immigration detension. and then those that are part time that may be part of a county jail, for example. there are a number of performance base standards. it was renegotiated a couple of times to make them tougher, to make them stronger. i've scene instances where not only do we have monitors within the u.s. government that will pay attention to those standards, conduct audits, but when those detention centers potentially are not meeting
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those standards, when they fail an audit. if it's significant we will walk away from that contract at great expense to the taxpayers because they are not meeting those standards. they take into account meals, healthcare, the ability to have recreation, access to family time. counsel, local community organizers, and really the focus is on not--it's not a punitive center, it's a detention to hold someone who is a significant flight risk and in the ice of immigration judge or federal government to detain them until they're removed from the united states. >> so, you get something like a bail hearing and they decide whether or not you're likely to run away. what you just heard, mark, from john, in yours experience does that sound how it's working? >> i also have never been inside of a detention center, but i represent clients who have appeared, but not in person.
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they don't get necessarily a type of bail hearing because the determination isn't made by dhs whether they're mandatorily detained. if the dhs decides they are mandatorily detained there is no bond and they don't even get to see a judge. but if there is a crime of moral peppe moramoral, we demand on family members to get in touch with them to even talk to them, to take deputy depositions. it can be impossible. >> it's my understanding that you're not guaranteed counsel. why is that the case? i thought constitutional rights extend to anyone who's charged with anything in the country?
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>> no, because although some immigration offenses are crimes, some are not. there are some who overstayed their visiting sees i visa. that's not a crime. they are not necessarily given counsel. >> unfortunately, we don't have time. we could do another half hour on this. thank you very much all for being here today. before we go we want to once again tell you about the new al jazeera original series "borderland" it appears sunday night 9:00 eastern. we'll take you on a journey into the heart of the immigration story in america. that brings us to the ends of this edition of "inside story." thanks for being with us. in washington, i'm ray suarez.
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america. i'm richelle carey, are the top stories. >> armed men take over police and security buildings in eastern ukraine. the government accuses moss coy of stirring up trouble. >> coming up, italy's economic woes continue. an diplomatic stand off iran will appeal a decision by the u.s. to reject a visa for its u.n. ambassador. as the world

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